How does a nation of sovereign people who believe in the fundamental principles of liberty, create a government that will not infringe on the natural rights of the creators of such a government?
Let me take you on a brief history lesson to explain.
This federal system of government we created came on the heels of a revolutionary war with Britain. The framers of the constitution and the founding fathers through tedious debate, took great care to craft a constitution that would guard against the infringement of personal liberty by their government.
According to the Declaration of Independence, men establish governments to secure their pre-existing natural rights. Where there is no government, rights are easily threatened by others, since the coercive power of the state does not function as a deterrent. The purpose of government is, therefore, to create the conditions that allow each individual to freely exercise his rights. At the collective level, this amounts to what the Declaration of Independence calls the “safety and happiness” of the people. Legitimate government must not only secure rights but also arise out of the consent of the governed.
The consent of the governed is the standard by which a government’s legitimacy is judged.
“Governments are instituted among Men…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Since all men are created equal, no individual or group has an inherent right to rule over anyone else. The only way anyone can have the authority to govern his equals is if they consent to his rule. A government not based on consent would unjustly deprive its citizens of the fundamental right to liberty.
The framers understood this to be the most important task of the government they set forth to create.Details